National Airborne Day
Reported By K.Skitz
National Airborne Day is recognized on August 16th in honor of those who served and continue to serve in US Airborne Divisions. The first parachute jump was conducted on August 16th, 1940 by the US Army Parachute Test Platoon, which consisted of 48 volunteers. Since then Airborne Operations have been a key element of modern battle tactics, especially during World War II. I’m sure we all have heard of the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions but there were many others who fought bravely and decisively during armed conflicts, notably the 11th, 13th and 17th Airborne Divisions.
The US Army conducted its first combat jump in November 1942 and following that the 2nd Battalion 509th Parachute Infantry conducted 93 combat jumps during the war, firstly in North Africa during Operation Torch. But more notably during D-Day on June 6, 1944 the 82nd Airborne and the 101st Airborne Divisions were the first boots on the ground in Normandy. There have been many accounts of these two divisions and ever since D-Day they have become legendary units of the US Army.
From WWII to Today, US Army Paratroopers are entirely made up of volunteers. They undergo training at Fort Benning, Georgia and its comprised of three weeks of grueling drills designated as Ground Week, Tower Week and Jump Week. Once they complete their training students are awarded their Jump Wings and earn the right to wear the Airborne Patch on their shoulder and or dress uniform.